What Is Sprawl Development?


Sprawl development is the outward expansion of low-density housing units on the outskirts of cities, far from commercial centers.

Within the Bay Area, sprawl development has threatened to destroy the greenbelt of natural and agricultural lands that surround cities and towns. Learn more about what a greenbelt is here.

What Are the Impacts of Sprawl Development?

Sprawl development impacts cities in many ways ranging from transportation to community development. When a city develops beyond its limits and onto the undeveloped land beyond it, it carries with it unforeseen consequences. Sprawling housing developments cause environmental, financial, social, and psychological effects for residents.

Infrastructure and Costs

Low-density sprawl costs local governments more in the long run than “infill” development, which is the growth within existing urban areas. Sprawling outward requires that new roads, water mains, sewer pipes, and other infrastructure be extended into greenfield areas—undeveloped land outside of cities and towns—while infill development usually requires simply upgrading existing city infrastructure.

Sprawl development is an expensive proposition.

Multiple studies show that sprawl is more expensive than infill growth within cities. A 2015 study found that sprawl costs America over $1 trillion, and can increase per-capita land consumption by up to 80% and car use by up to 60%. Providing water, sewer, roads, and other services to far-flung neighborhoods is very costly for local governments. Smart growth allows more affordable housing types at increased densities, reduces land requirements per household, has lower public service costs, and reduces transportation costs. The higher housing prices that residents may pay will be offset by lower transportation costs, energy costs, and better access to jobs, services, and amenities in more centralized locations.

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Los Angeles Is the Face of Climate Change Our painful future is already here.

Author:Scott  Lucas

In July 2018, the air temperature in Woodland Hills, a Los Angeles neighborhood some 20 miles north of the Pacific Ocean, peaked at 117 degrees Fahrenheit. For 63-year old U.S. Post Office carrier Peggy Frank, that Friday marked her first day back at work after recovering from a broken ankle. At 3:35 p.m., Frank was pronounced dead after paramedics found her unresponsive in her non-air-conditioned truck. In September, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office confirmed what seemed a forgone conclusion: Frank died of hyperthermia — she overheated.

A few months later, in November, the Woolsey Fire swept through Malibu and parts of the San Fernando Valley. The blaze killed three and forced the evacuation of almost 300,000 people, burning 96,000 acres and destroying 1,643 structures. Then, after heavy rain in areas scarred by the fire, came the mudslides in December and January that killed one person and closed portions of the Pacific Coast Highway.

For most of the population, climate change is too big a thing to grapple with. As the theorist Timothy Morton argued, it’s a “hyperobject” — it is too big, too sprawling in time and space, and too complex to see fully from any single vantage point. It’s numbing. But by narrowing our focus, we can catch more than a glimpse. It may be easier to understand climate change at the regional level, says Katherine Davis Reich, associate director of UCLA’s Center for Climate Science. “We can all appreciate what climate change impacts would be in our backyard and act on that, much more than at the global level.”

Los Angeles, the second-largest city in the United States, is perched precariously on the edge of the Pacific. Not long ago, it was the nation’s frontier; today, its cultural industries produce the globe’s films, music, and television, always hunting for the next new thing. Here, the line between the present and the future has always been thin. As it swelters, burns, erodes, and collapses, that barrier may have been swept away altogether. For L.A., 2018 was not a sign of things to come. It’s a sign of things that have arrived.

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Miami’s newest infrastructure project happened after Meg Daly broke both her arms.

I couldn’t do anything for myself for a while,” Daly says. After three weeks of getting driven to physical therapy, she decided to hop on Miami’s Metrorail, a mostly elevated rail system.

“I ended up taking the train, getting off and then walking below the train above me,” Daly says. That’s when she noticed the undeveloped land beneath the train. “I was like: Why aren’t we doing something with this land?”

So she thought of the idea for the Underline, a 10-mile, 120-acre linear park with a walking and biking path that will be built under the rail tracks. The Underline, plans to connect South Miami, Coral Gables and downtown Miami, follows in the footsteps of projects such as New York City’s High Line and Atlanta’s BeltLine. Daly founded the nonprofit Friends of the Underline in 2015 in order to partner with Miami-Dade County — who owns the land — and secure funds for ongoing operations.

After years of planning and having discussions with the community, the Underline broke ground on Nov. 1, 2018, with the first half-mile segment now under construction. The management, maintenance and programming of the Underline will be run by the Underline Management Organization, a nonprofit represented by Friends of The Underline, Miami-Dade County, the Florida Department of Transportation, the Federal Transit Administration and three municipalities.

Design is not the only aspect that the Underline shares with “rails-to-trails” projects around the U.S. The BeltLine and the High Line have both grappled with concerns of lessened affordability and increased gentrification — and the Underline will have to grapple with it as well.

Affordable housing, along with sea level rise, has been a top challenge in Miami for more than a decade, says Ned Murray, associate director of Florida International University’s Metropolitan Center.

“This issue is very significant and one that needs to be addressed and one that has to be addressed locally. There is no federal or state level of funding or anything that could come out of Washington and Tallahassee that could really help with this,” says Murray, who has studied affordable housing issues in South Florida. “More and more states and cities around the country are now looking at solutions that are local, more innovative policy and financing solutions

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Osmosis Festival of Lights Thursday, December 6 @ 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm $25.00

Please join us for a convivial evening of friends and neighbors converging in the unique atmosphere of Osmosis.

We put up a large heated tent on the front lawn beautifully decorated and filled with music and good cheer.

Enjoy an abundance of gourmet hors d’oeuvres by Goatlandia, fine wine from Davis Family Vineyards, VOLO Chocolates, unique holiday gifts and live music by Amity Janes trio.

Reserve now for this totally fun holiday party and shopping opportunity where you can peruse our self-care boutique, purchase gift cards and receive complimentary treatments. Evening delights include a heart and soul warming Cedar Enzyme Footbath while viewing a fire dance performance, mini-massages or facials and raffle prizes totaling over $800!

Entry fee of $25 will be credited toward your Gift Card or Retail purchases that evening over $200.

Join us for this very special evening to gather in the warm energy space of our dear friends and lovely staff.